Teen Wolf Episode Review: 4×12 “Smoke and Mirrors”

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I won’t lie. I watched the Teen Wolf finale. But I didn’t really retain anything from the Teen Wolf finale. It’s pretty telling of the dip in quality that the show has taken, because there was a time not so long ago (okay, like Season 2) where I would watch the finale in terror that one of my favorites would die or something. This time around Derek took a stab to the gut and practically died right there, and I didn’t even flinch.

The problem with “Smoke and Mirrors” and with Season 4 as a whole, is that nothing takes effect. Scott spends the entire season attempting to make difficult moral decisions, but in the end he has that responsibility taken from him by Kate. Derek has to deal with his impending humanity, but was just undergoing some kind of inexplicable evolution the whole time. Liam has trouble with control and fear, but is able to overcome it with a few chants. Parrish’s identity is teased and teased and then put off until next season. There’s never even a real explanation for why everyone in Beacon Hills is suddenly broke.

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“Just gonna sit here for the entire episode and wait for my b/f to evolve or whatever.”

What is the point of this? What is the point of having Peter come up with this convoluted plan to raise Kate from the dead and teach her to create Berserkers so he can have Scott killed in an ironic fashion when he has an army of amateur assassins at his disposal? Why didn’t he take advantage of his accidental hit list and abandon his incredibly complicated plot? Nothing really makes sense. There’s too much going on, and not enough explanation of “why” or “how”. Why is Derek an actual wolf now? How does Kate make Berserkers in the first place? The answers to these questions matter. They help create continuity, and without that, Season 4 feels disjointed and pointless.

There are some elements of “Smoke and Mirrors” that I like. I appreciate that Mason is now officially in the know, though we don’t see his reaction to the Berserkers. His stand against them with Lydia is pretty heroic, and I hope he doesn’t go the way of Danny, whose character potential was carelessly thrown out. Similarly, I love Sheriff Stilinski’s involvement, and his subsequent treatment of Malia, whom he takes out for pizza. Scott and Liam’s relationship remains as sweet as it’s always been. I was hesitant of Liam at first, but his enduring cuteness has endeared him to me. And while my beloved Parrish is a total afterthought this episode, the mystery of his identity hasn’t been completely abandoned.

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It was good to see him for like five seconds.

Ultimately though, Season 4 is a jumbled mess. There are a lot of great moments scattered throughout, but when you look at the season as a whole, it doesn’t add up. The thing that drew me into Teen Wolf in the first place is that it was a genuinely good cheesy teen supernatural show. Now it’s just a cheesy teen supernatural show. And while some shows get along just fine without the expectation of logic and continuity being thrusted upon them, Teen Wolf is not one of them. There needs to be a logical set of rules that govern their universe. There needs to be a clear timeline. Without it, the show goes off the rails.

Season 5 looks like it will be returning to the split-season format. I question that decision, since I feel that Season 3 suffered from it. Still, maybe having a split season will give the writers the room they need to develop two distinct plotlines instead of cramming them both into 12 episodes. I hope they take the time to think about some of the gigantic plot holes they’ve created. Teen Wolf can be better. I know it can.

See you next season.

Images are copyright of MTV. 

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